India is expected to see a significant uptick in mobile subscriptions, broadband and connectivity with almost a billion unique mobile subscribers expected by 2020, marking a period of rapid development of the country's mobile economy, a new study has revealed.
The new report, 'The Mobile Economy: India 2016' by GSMA Intelligence, noted that at the end of June 2016, 616 million unique users had subscribed to mobile services in India, making it the second-largest mobile market globally.
India also overtook the US in 2016 to become the world's second-largest smartphone market with an installed base of 275 million devices.
The report forecasts that improving affordability, falling device prices and operator investments in network coverage and quality will help deliver an additional 330 million unique subscribers in India by 2020, lifting the country's penetration rate to 68 per cent of the population (up from 47 per cent in 2015).
India is also seeing an ongoing technology shift to mobile broadband services; the number of 3G/4G mobile broadband connections is forecast to reach more than 670 million by 2020, 48 per cent of the total connection base, it said.
There will also be an accelerating move to 4G over this period. The number of 4G connections is forecast to grow rapidly, growing from just 3 million at the end of 2015 to 280 million by 2020. In addition, the industry is set to invest heavily, with operator capex growing to USD 34 billion for the period 2016 to 2020.
"With this report, all signs point to a period of tremendous growth for India's mobile economy, which will strongly support and enable the government's 'Digital India' initiative aimed at providing broadband connectivity to all," said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.
"To fully realise India's tremendous market potential, review and reform in key areas, including modernising regulation and long-term planning for spectrum allocation, would accelerate mobile broadband access and adoption across the country," he said.